Last night I saw a car intentionally taking up two slots in a crowded parking lot. Immediately I was filled with thoughts of how to make the person feel stupid or punish him for his insensitivity. “I’m assuming it was a guy because I haven’t seen many women do this. It’s not like his car is even that nice or expensive. Look how exactly on the middle of the line his car is: this was intentional.”
I wish I downloaded those cards on the internet for inconsiderate parking jerks like that driver. Or I could leave a mocking note on his windshield. Or I could force my car into the space anyway giving him a difficult time climbing in his car.
As these delightful schemes multiplied in my head, I remembered Pastor Christian Flores’ preaching from last Sunday. He had described how hate and offense is the spiritual equivalent to murder. Being offended and thinking bad thoughts towards someone is like killing them in your heart. Talk about a buzzkill. If you wanna hear it, you can listen to it here.
I was immediately convicted. There was no denying how murderous my intentions were. It was also surprising how quickly these thoughts came to mind. There was no need for brainstorming or mind mapping. When we’re angry, we can easily think of multiple ways to lash back. There are no limits to human creativity in hurting one another.
So I circled the parking lot feeling deflated. I couldn’t even think of ways to get back at the car because that would be sinning. But I had to do something. Then I remembered something else, something my dad tells me often:
Pray for people you don’t like. Your heart for them will change. Their heart could change too.
So I prayed for this driver. I prayed that whatever his business was in the mall, he would do it well. I prayed that after his business was conducted, he would make his way to his car with its wide open spaces around it, and safely make his way home to his family.
A new parking space opened for me, farther away than his double-slot, but I was still thankful. My family went into the mall and had a great evening together. On our way back to our car, I noticed that Mr. Two Slots had left already. I smiled inwardly and prayed for him again wherever in the metro he might be.